Maintenance Tips

We've compiled some helpful home maintenance tips to ensure the best care for your new or existing home.

Drainage & Grading

All landscaping around your property should maintain the grade. Leaves and debris should be cleared away from basement windows to maintain proper drainage at those points.

If you are planning to build a fence, install a swimming pool, or plant trees, call or click before you dig (Manitoba Hydro). They will advise the location of any buried cable on your property so that excavation may be planned accordingly.

Driveways, Landscaping & Sidewalks

Poured in place concrete or concrete block sidewalks may settle. In the spring, as required, place sand beneath settled concrete in order to re-level. Salt and other chemicals can cause early deterioration of concrete. To remove ice, use a product that will not harm the concrete surface.

Basement & Foundation

Movement of the basement floor slab is not unusual and is a fact of life in owning a home in Winnipeg. Usually the upwards movement or heaving of the basement floor slab and interior foundation stabilizes within the first three years of the home’s life. During this period you should adjust the interior telepost supports to minimize the effect of the movement on the floors above.

All downspouts should have run away leads (extensions) that discharge roof drainage away from the basement wall. Since the above systems add moisture to the clay soils, basement floor slab heaving and adverse foundation movement can result if they malfunction.

Dampness of Basement or Foundation

New concrete holds moisture for 1 or 2 years. During winter months the moisture can freeze and form ice or frost. During warmer temperatures this will melt causing water to run down the wall onto the basement floor. Keep personal belongings away from the foundations walls. Installing a dehumidier can reduce the effect from this.

Telepost Adjustments

Do not over-adjust the telepost. Teleposts should never be adjusted by more than small amounts at a time, especially on newer homes. If this is done too quickly or improperly, large cracks may suddenly appear in walls in the home or flooring may become loose or squeaky. A rule of thumb is to do adjustments no more than one half a turn at a time. This slow adjustment will move the teleposts only millimeters, so several adjustments may be required to achieve the desired height.

Interior Finishing

Interior Passage and Closet Doors

Interior doors that are tight-fitting or warped are usually the result of high humidity. Before deciding whether doors require adjustments, wait until the level of humidity returns to normal. The return of drier air may solve the problem. If the door is warped it should not exceed 3/8-inch, provided proper humidity levels are maintained in the home.

Paint

New paint should have at least three months to cure properly before washing. If you have to wash new paint, use a soft cloth and baking soda and be careful not to scrub. Always rinse thoroughly.

Exterior Finishing

To keep rain water flowing through the gutters and downspouts, be sure they are clear of leaves and debris.

Garage Walls

It is not uncommon to experience frost or ice on the garage walls during the winter months as well as the formation of mildew spots in the spring. This is due to high humidity within the garage during the winter or spring. Installation of a ceiling fan or an oscillating fan in the garage to promote air movement may help eliminate the moisture that is present.

Leaking from bathroom fans or ceiling fixtures

After an incident of blowing snow, check the attic. If snow has entered, remove it before it has the chance to melt to avoid possible damage to the ceilings.

During prolonged cold spells, ice build-up at the eaves and on plumbing stacks and fans is common. The condition occurs when snow and ice accumulate, and gutters and down-spouts freeze. As part of your regular maintenance, remove the build-up of ice or snow once it is noticed.

Exterior Doors

As part of regular maintenance adjust bottom door sweep on exterior doors. Ensure that weather stripping is properly fitted. Avoid slamming of doors as this can cause damage to both the door and the jamb of the door. Do not use a hair dryer to de-ice dead bolts - the heat causes more ice as it freezes.

Exterior Steps

When using a product to melt ice on your concrete step, ensure that the product is not corrosive. Corrosive products, like salt, deteriorate the concrete by causing flaking and chipping.

Exterior Paint

Exterior paintable finishes should be maintained on a regular basis. Should you choose to touch up an area, be sure that the paint colour matches closely.

Kitchens & Cabinets

Clean cabinets and countertops as needed with mild detergent or soap & water (sparingly.) Use a lint-free cloth for both washing & drying. Wipe up spills, splatters & watermarks as they occur, keeping cabinets & countertop surfaces dry. Give special attention to areas near sink and dishwasher that come in contact with moisture.

Flooring – Carpets & Vinyls

Cleaning your carpet/Professional carpet cleaning

Despite daily care, particles of dirt and soil inevitably become embedded in the carpeting, gradually causing it to turn dull. This underfoot grit may also cut the fibres and cause excessive wear. While home cleaning methods will brighten the carpet surface, professional cleaning is necessary to remove embedded dirt.

Home Carpet Cleaning

The following information should help you get better results when cleaning your carpets. Always read and follow the directions of the cleaner and machine maker. Mix all solutions as per directions - more is not better. Remove all furniture if possible.

Use only recommended carpet shampoos. Unsuitable shampoos can cause immediate and long term problems. Pretest for dye fastness or colour change on a hidden area of carpet. Should you notice any colour change or bleeding, choose another shampoo or get professional advice.

Ceramic Tile

Repair caulking around your tub as part of regular maintenance. Over time it does break down and may cause leaks into the walls. Grouting will also shrink and crack over time, and must be repaired or replaced.

SEASONAL CHECKLISTS

WINTER CHECKLIST

  • Keep snow clear of gas meters, fireplace vents, exhaust vents and basement windows.
  • Remove ice and snow from concrete surfaces as soon as possible.
  • Regularly inspect roof for ice dams or icicles and snow build up, remove as soon as possible.
  • Drain off hot water tank as per manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Remove exterior window screens.
  • Pour a quart of water down the basement floor drain to prevent sewer odors from seeping in.
  • Set humidistat between 30% - 50% and monitor your home for excessive moisture levels.
  • Run some water down any unused plumbing fixtures to keep water in the trap.
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to prevent them from seizing.
  • Clean humidifier two or three times during the winter season.
  • Check electrical cords, plugs and outlets, and outdoor seasonal lights for fire safety.
  • Vacuum radiator grilles on back of refrigerators and freezers.
  • Check all faucets for dripping and replace washers if needed.
  • Clean drains in dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls.
  • Check pressure gauge on fire extinguishers and refill or replace if needed.
  • Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. Repair if needed in spring.
  • Clean and vacuum your bathroom fan grille.

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FALL CHECKLIST

  • Remove exterior sump pump hose for winter.
  • Remove hoses from exterior faucets and all quick connect fittings to prevent water line breaks.
  • Shut off and drain garden water valve located in the basement to prevent frozen pipes.
  • Clean gutters, check downspouts and confirm that splash blocks drain away from the house.
  • Adjust or replace weather-stripping on exterior doors as needed.
  • Clean window sills so windows can close tightly.
  • Caulk, and replace weather-stripping as needed.
  • Check overhead garage door, tighten bolts as needed, and lubricate springs with approved oil.
  • Fill backfill soils of foundation, concrete slabs, and yard to maintain positive drainage.
  • Inspect roof for missing or damaged shingles, loose fascia, eaves troughs, and down spouts.
  • Cover your air-conditioner to prevent snow and ice build-up. Shut off power to AC unit.
  • Clean out clothing dryer vent. A build-up of lint can cause fires and reduces efficiency of dryer.
  • Inspect exhaust and intake vents and pipes for ice or snow, build up, or other debris.
  • Operate fireplace to burn off dust. Open windows as required.
  • Winterize landscaping (store outdoor furniture and cover young trees/shrubs for winter, etc).
  • Clean the HRV as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Adjust registers and confirm that cold air returns are clear of furniture and draperies.
  • Remove interior screens from windows to allow air movement and prevent condensation build up.
  • Test, clean, and change batteries for smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

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SPRING CHECKLIST

  • Turn on power to air-conditioner and check system. Have serviced every 2 to 3 years.
  • Make sure the air-conditioner compressor is level and clear of debris.
  • Maintain humidity levels, adjust humidistat as needed.
  • Start and adjust the sprinkler system.
  • Test exterior faucets for broken pipes.
  • Clear all drainage ditches and get rid of any obstructing debris.
  • Check exterior paint and stain surfaces (especially stained doors) and refinish as needed.
  • Inspect for shrinkage damage such as minor drywall cracks and separations of wood trim.
  • Test sump pump and discharge hose. Ensure proper operation and no obstructions or leaks.
  • Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and change batteries.
  • Inspect driveways and walkways for cracks, chipping and lifting concrete.
  • Clean range hood filters.
  • Check for and seal off any holes in exterior coating or coverings to prevent small pests from entering.
  • Check caulking and weather stripping throughout your home and repair or replace if needed.
  • Clean the HRV per manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Clean windows, screens and hardware and re-fit any screens that have been removed.
  • Inspect basement for any water issues.
  • Open valve to outside house connection after the danger of frost has passed.

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SUMMER CHECKLIST

  • Check interior caulking and touch up.
  • Inspect grout around tile (floor or wall) and touch up if required.
  • Inspect the seal around windows and exterior doors. Moisture and heat can cause deterioration.
  • Monitor basement humidity and avoid relative humidity levels above 60 percent.
  • Clean or replace air-conditioning filter and clean or replace HRV filters if necessary.
  • Lubricate door hinges and tighten screws.
  • Lubricate automatic garage door opener motor and chain. Be cautious around moving parts.
  • Disconnect dryer duct. Vacuum out lint in duct and lint surrounding the dryer hood outside.
  • Inspect windows for proper functioning and lubricate if needed.
  • Check condition of roof and take note of any damaged or missing shingles.
  • Mow your lawn weekly and trim excess grass away from fences.
  • Remove any plants or weeds on your yard for aesthetic maintenance.
  • Check guard rails and handrails to ensure they are secure.
  • Open up windows, air out your basement. Run a fan if necessary to help reduce condensation.
  • Run some water down any unused plumbing fixtures to keep water in the trap.
  • Check basement pipes for condensation or dripping. Reduce humidity and/or insulate pipes.
  • Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration; clean, replace, or refinish as needed.
  • Vacuum bathroom fan grille.

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